Elephant in the Spotlight: Ms. Songkran

Diana Francis, a British artist and designer based in Singapore, explains how the Thai New Year festival, Songkran, inspired her “Ms. Songkran” elephant design.

Can you tell us the name and inspiration behind your elephant?

“The name of my elephant is ‘Ms. Songkran’ and the inspiration draws upon the Thai New Year celebration, which is the Songkran festival. During Songkran, locals use water to wash away the bad energy that’s accumulated over the previous year, giving the chance of a fresh start for the coming year. So it’s a fun festival, with lots of water, and people have a lot of fun.”

What do you want people to remember about your elephant?

“I would like the public to remember Ms. Songkran for the unusual execution of the paint. What we’ve done is we’ve used a lot of paint on our elephant, and with the water being dripped over her head and back, we’re looking at the paint running off the elephant, over her legs, and even over the plinth itself, so it’s quite an unusual elephant.”

 

Why did you decide to collaborate with Elephant Parade?

“I decided to collaborate with Elephant Parade because I find that working in the arts, whilst at the same time supporting conservation in protecting the Asian elephants, is an amazing marriage between art and conservation, and it’s done in a fun way. So having been part of that, I’m very excited to carry on working with Elephant Parade.”

Is this your first time collaboration with Elephant Parade?

“I’ve worked with them since 2011. I worked with Elephant Parade in Singapore, and also throughout the last few years, I’ve been] working very closely with the Hong Kong parade. In total now, I’ve worked with about 33 elephants. So yeah, it’s good fun. I’m happy to help!” 

Have you spent any time with elephants?

“Yes, I have. In 2011, I went to Chiang Mai and I visited the elephant hospital. What struck me was that they are the most amazing animals; they are emotional, they’re very human-like, and I’m very happy to help on that level, on an emotional level.

 

"It’s important to help elephants because not all of the public know about the problems they are facing in Asia, and in the rest of the world, so the more fun and the more art that we can create with working with elephants, the greater the awareness we can create for them."

Miniature 10, 15cm, 20cm and 30cm versions of Ms Songkran are available for sale here